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The 4 Most Popular Bookkeeping Programs for Your Business

QuickBooks vs FreshBooks vs Xero vs Quicken Home & Business

If you are just starting a business, or even if you’ve been in business for a while, you need to compare QuickBooks vs Freshbooks vs Xero vs Quicken Home & Business so you can hone in on the software that’s most beneficial for you.

When you track your finances with proper accounting software, not only does it make tax time a helluva lot easier, but more importantly, you always know exactly how well your company is doing (or how badly).

QuickBooks vs FreshBooks vs Xero vs Quicken Home & Business

Your financials are the ultimate report card for your business, and will help keep your company in peak financial health. You need to constantly tally the data, and then look at reports of your performance, so you can decide what’s working well…and what’s not.

When it comes to keeping track of your financials, you need something reliable and cost effective. There really are only a few good options for your small to medium sized business. Let’s take a look at QuickBooks vs Freshbooks vs Xero vs Quicken Home & Business so you can make an informed choice.

QuickBooks (Desktop or Online)

QuickBooks is a true accounting software for business. You can use it whether you’re a sole operator or a large corporation, and it will grow as your company expands.

QuickBooks has been around for a long time, so its original product (aka the desktop version) is software that you install on your computer. It has a “database file” that you setup for your company, and then add to as you do your books over time. This file sits on your computer “locally.”

QuickBooks Desktop has both Mac and PC versions, but you can’t use the database file interchangeably. In other words, you can’t save work in your file on a PC at work, then go home and open the database on a QBD installed on your Mac.

In the last 5 years, we’ve seen QuickBooks really start to move their product to be web based. It’s called QuickBooks Online. While it does all the same things as QBD, its interface and style of use is fairly different. But again, has all the same functionality.

The big benefit of QBO is that its web based so you, your employees and your CPA can get into it from anywhere. Plus, it has lots of integration from other productivity tool makers for things like time tracking, payroll, benefits management, bill payments, mobile receipt capture…you name it.

The major downside, in my opinion, to QBO is the price…you pay more (per company database) versus some of the others. Alternatively, the great benefit of QB Desktop is that for the single purchase price of the software, you can have as many database files as you want, at no extra cost.

That said, my opinion is that QBs will slowly phase out QB Desktop for the reasons I just mentioned. QBO is a much better revenue model, and keeping the product up to date for all users is so much easier.

Because of QBO’s price, I often use FreshBooks and/or Quicken Home & Business for very small businesses and freelancers. Both are cheaper. I do recommend QBO for companies that have employees and/or have inventory to manage.

Five of my clients use QB Online, while one uses QB Desktop and one uses FreshBooks (for their business). I personally use Quicken Home & Business, which combine all my personal finances (including investments and real estate) and my consulting business finances into one program.


Xero is a cloud-based accounting software. It allows you to manage your business in multiple currencies and boasts an extensive network of integrations, making it super easy to automate communication between all your preferred apps. It also has full import capabilities for all up and coming banking options like PayPal, Transferwise, Payoneer and so on.

Additionally, the top-notch help center gives a variety of valuable video tutorials on using the program and optimizing your user experience, even if you’re relatively new to using it.

I’ll admit that I can’t endorse using Xero, because I’ve never used it. I can say that by all accounts, it seems to be the main competitor of Quickbooks Online.


I would generally recommend FreshBooks for smaller businesses and freelancers who need basic features like sending invoices (along with payments) and tracking expenses.

Getting everything set up in FreshBooks is easy, thanks to the straightforward walkthroughs. They tell you what you need to get started, ask you for the relevant information, and offer tips throughout the process.

You can be ready to start using FreshBooks in just a few minutes after making some easy choices. It’s an accessible and straightforward version of an accounting app.

All that said, ultimately I would recommend going with Quicken for single member businesses and freelancers, because there you can combine your personal small business finances in one place for a total net worth picture…while also having the ability to invoice.

Quicken Home & Business

Quicken is one of the most significant money management software packages on the market. Quicken was started by Intuit (owner of Quickbooks) but they sold it off, and replaced their personal product with Mint.

Quicken is primarily known for being a personal finance software, but it does have a Home & Business edition. This version allows you to add both business account tracking, as well as rental property tracking.

I like it largely because you can combine your business and personal accounts, for a complete net worth. Plus, it has an invoicing function built right in as well.

They sell it for Mac and PC, but the main issue is that they only sell the Home & Business edition for PC. The Mac version does all the same things, but doesn’t have invoicing.

I personally use this software to track all my personal, business and real estate finances in one place. I’ve been using it for 20 years. Enough said.

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